Now we know the worst has happened.
On Monday, June 30 the bodies of three Jewish teenagers – Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah – were found by the IDF not far from the bus stop where they were kidnapped on June 12. Reports tell us they were shot shortly after their abduction.
This grim circumstance shows the Hamas terrorists who killed these students weren’t willing to negotiate. There could be no rational political motivation to their heinous acts. Hamas committed a brutal act of terrorism that has no other purpose but to inflict pain on these boys and their families and the Nation of Israel and its supporters, including the United States.
The age and innocence of the victims, one of whom was a dual Israeli-American citizen, were irrelevant to the terrorists who took them. They were Jews.
Hamas considered it justifiable, and even laudable, to murder them. Hamas deliberately concealed their bodies for a long as possible, to maximize the suffering of all those who agonized waiting to hear one precious word about what happened to their boys.
After two weeks of waiting for any notification – a photo, a video, or a text – that their sons might be alive, the families of those children now must face the loss of their beloved sons.
Rachel Fraenkel, the mother of Naftali Fraenkel, spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 24.
Rachel said, “My son texted me – said he’s on his way home – and then he’s gone. Every mother’s nightmare is waiting and waiting endlessly for her child to come home.”
These boys were all smart, hardworking and diligent students on their way home from school. They were only five minutes away from their yeshiva, one of the finest in all of Israel.
Naftali was only 16 years old.
He had family in Brooklyn and considered it his second home.
He was the oldest of seven children and loved basketball, and ping-pong. A gifted student, he was on track to take his biology matriculation exams.
Gil-Ad, also 16 years old, was also abducted. “Gil” means “happiness” and “ad” means “forever,” and he was a source of joy to those who knew him.
His aunt says he had a smile that brought light to the world, quite fitting for a boy whose name means “happiness forever.” He was his family’s only son. His parents and five sisters mourn him today.
Eyal, 19 years old, was also killed. He was the oldest of six children and was a role model for the family. His friends have said they would have liked to have him for a brother. He loved to play the guitar and sing.
Hamas has the blood of these boys on its hands.
It’s time to put an end to the fantasy that Hamas, unequivocally a terrorist group, can play any role in a legitimate government formed by the Palestinian Authority.
These murders should end the notion that the Israelis are somehow obligated to negotiate with any PA entity that includes Hamas.
And, finally, it should put an end once and for all to the farce of sending American taxpayer dollars to fund an organization that kidnaps and murders children, including our own citizens.
These murders were plotted as the PA worked toward a so-called “unity government” that would theoretically reconcile Hamas and Fatah into a single governing entity. For those who hoped that this arrangement would civilize Hamas by satisfying its desire to participate in the political process, there can be no further illusion. They have no such desire. Their only desire is to damage and ultimately destroy the Jewish State of Israel.
These murders, along with the escalation of rocket attacks on southern Israel, demonstrates that Hamas is going on a terrorist offensive, instead of moderating its behavior.
The burden is now on the PA not only to renounce Hamas, but to take concrete steps to expel Hamas from their society.
The PA could begin – and astonish the world – by actually supporting Israel in striking back against the terrorists who murdered these teenagers. It would also be an opportune moment for the PA to affirm expressly Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. And their leaders should stop glorifying terrorism and inciting against the nation of Israel and the United States.
Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal are innocent victims of terrorism.
Should Hamas not be confronted forcefully, there will be more. Whose young sons or daughters will be next? Slaying innocents is terrorist behavior. It is what terrorists do.
It’s what Hamas is doing.
No nation should accommodate, legitimize, or negotiate with this group that murders children.
Hamas must be expelled from civil society, and America should do everything it can to support Israel for as long as it takes as the mission to find these terrorists and ensure justice is carried out.
The pain will not cede for the families who lost their boys. Not one more family should ever get news their children have suffered at the hands of Hamas.
This is not only Israel’s struggle for safety and freedom – it’s America’s, too.
The author is a US Senator.